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Why Workplace Safety Training is the New Onboarding Essential

Contributor: Rom Matanguihan, Account Executive

January 12th, 2024 | 4 min. read

By Tony Calavitta

Why Workplace Safety Training is the New Onboarding Essential

What is the first thing you do when you get into a car?

If you're like most people, you automatically buckle your seatbelt – it’s almost like a reflex, right?

This instinctive action is the perfect example of how we weave safety into our everyday lives, often without even realizing it. It shows that safety is, in fact, an integral part of our day-to-day routines.

With that in mind, here’s a question for you:

Shouldn't safety, a fundamental and ingrained part of our daily lives, be just as second nature in the workplace?

If you answered “yes” this article is for you – in it, we will explore the benefits of incorporating safety training into your company’s onboarding process.

Keep reading to learn how establishing strong safety habits from day one can not only help you promote employee well-being but also be a game-changer for ensuring legal compliance, enhancing productivity, and reducing operational costs.

Ready? (Buckle up!)

Don’t overlook safety! Why workplace safety training is critical

Did you know that in just one year, the number of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers jumped to a staggering 2.8 million? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that this metric from 2022 amounted to a 7.5 percent increase from 2021. And it’s a trend that, without reactive measures, will likely only continue.

Alarming, isn’t it?

This significant rise in workplace incidents should be a stark wake-up call for every employer, emphasizing the critical need for comprehensive safety measures and, naturally, effective safety training in the workplace.

When should you initiate workplace safety training? The sooner, the better

So, yes, safety training is a must.

While the importance of safety training is clear, you might wonder if the timing really matters. And, to that, research and experience qualify that it does.

So, when should you begin this training?

The answer is right from the get-go.

In other words, you should integrate safety training into your onboarding process. When you begin safety training during onboarding, you create a golden opportunity to lay the groundwork for a culture deeply rooted in safety.

This is the ideal time to introduce safety as one of your core values and infuse it into every aspect of your workplace environment. This approach sets a company-wide precedent, ensuring that safety is never an afterthought but a key element of daily operations.

Is It really worth it? The benefits of workplace safety training during onboarding

By starting safety training from the very first interaction with new employees, you're investing in a safer, more productive, and cost-effective future for your business.

But will this investment pay off? (Continue reading to find out!)

Here’s why incorporating safety training into your onboarding process yields significant rewards for both your employees and your bottom line.

1. Improved employee well-being

Think about this: More than 4 out of 5 employees agree that a little recognition goes a long way and elevates motivation, engagement, and even productivity.

But then there’s this: In the hustle of meeting deadlines and achieving targets, it's easy for employees to feel like just another cog in the machine.

At the end of the day, employees want to feel appreciated, especially at work where they spend hours and hours contributing to company goals.

So, answer this: What better way to recognize your employees – to show them that they really matter to you as more than said cog and that their personal welfare is important – than by prioritizing their at-work safety?

When it comes to onboarding, implementing effective safety training is a clear statement of your commitment to employee well-being. It's about more than just preventing accidents (though of course learning safe workplace habits does do that) – it's about creating an environment where employees feel genuinely cared for.

This strategy significantly contributes to building trust with your employees. They know that their employer isn't just concerned with meeting a legal requirement but is sincerely invested in their health and safety. In response to this sense of value, employees reciprocate with loyalty to your organization and start to look out for each other's safety, creating a more collaborative workplace culture.

As the cherry on top of this supportive workplace sundae, this type of positive job environment not only attracts but also is more likely to retain top talent, reducing turnover and the costs associated with hiring and training new staff.

2. Strengthened legal compliance

As an employer, the topic of compliance often surfaces. And still, it is especially pertinent to health and safety in your workplace.

With today’s laws and regulations surrounding workplace safety becoming increasingly stringent, noncompliance can lead to hefty fines, legal battles, and a tarnished reputation.

By incorporating safety training into your onboarding process, you ensure that all of your employees, including new hires, are up-to-date with the latest safety protocols and requirements and can avoid these costly implications.

This proactive stance on legal compliance demonstrates to regulatory agencies that your company is serious about safety. It also shows your employees and the public that you are a responsible and ethical employer.

So, really, prioritizing safety training from the start not only protects your employees from workplace hazards but also safeguards your business against costly penalties, legal risks, and reputational damage.

3. Increased workforce productivity


There's a direct correlation between a safe work environment and employee productivity: A recent study published by Occupational Health Science cites health and safety as “key elements in achieving an organization’s desired productivity and efficiency.”

To recap, this means that effective workplace safety training contributes to increased productivity. And increased productivity equates to a better bottom line. So, on the converse, without effectively implementing a process for workplace safety training, productivity is hindered, efficiency is reduced, and ultimately, revenue is (unnecessarily) lost.

Why?

Well, when employees feel safe, their focus shifts from potential hazards to the tasks at hand. This heightened concentration leads to higher-quality work and increased output.

Safety training during onboarding equips all employees with the knowledge to identify and mitigate risks, reducing the likelihood of distractions caused by unsafe conditions. Furthermore, employees who are confident in their safety are more likely to take initiative, be innovative, and contribute to the improvement of business operations.

4. Reduced operational costs

One of the most tangible benefits of incorporating safety training into onboarding is a reduction in operational costs.

Here's how safety can yield savings:
  1. A safe workplace leads to lower insurance premiums, as insurers often offer better rates to companies that demonstrate a commitment to safety and have fewer incidents.

  2. Having fewer workplace incidents means fewer workers' compensation claims, which can be a significant financial burden on any company.

  3. Completing this cycle, when it's time to renew insurance, having few claims can only serve to further reduce insurance costs.

In turn, this creates a financially beneficial situation, where investing in safety training not only contributes to substantial overhead cost savings but also elevates the long-term fiscal health of your business.

 

 

Elevate safety, enhance success – Take the next steps

You now understand how such a simple yet profound change to your onboarding process can significantly impact all of the following:

  • Employee well-being
  • Legal compliance
  • Workforce Productivity
  • Operational costs

At Combined, we understand that translating this understanding into action can be easier said than done, so we are here to help you implement this change.

Together, we can make safety your company’s second nature.

What do you say? Ready to integrate workplace safety training into your onboarding process and experience a safer, more productive, and cost-efficient workplace?

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This article is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.